19 Nov 2018

Topp country tucker with roving foodies Jools & Lynda

From Nine To Noon, 11:30 am on 19 November 2018

Based on the first two seasons of the TV series Topp Country - Dames Lynda and Jools have published a cook book crammed with humour, recipes and yarns.

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Photo: Topp Country

It's called: 'Topp Country: A culinary journey'.

Dames Lynda and Jools Topp tell Kathryn Ryan about their huge appreciation for tasty tucker and the passionate food producers up and down the country who work so hard to bring it to the plate.

We meet the food producers too: free-range pig farmers from the deep rural south, ostrich farmers in Manawatū and chook farmers in the Waitākere Ranges.

Camp Mother also makes an appearance - as do the Kens, who've written some cheeky poems.

Dame Jools says New Zealanders’ taste buds have changed a lot over recent decades.

"When we were growing up it was meat and three veggies, I don’t think Mum and Dad ever had a bulb of garlic on their plate once.”

And as our tastes change, intrepid famers are branching out into new, uncharted territories.

“Every now and then some crazy farmer will have an idea in New Zealand and they’ll have a go at it.

"The lovely people who were doing the ostriches - they went with it. When you do something like that there’s no way of finding out from other people," Dame Lynda says.

Dame Jools says ostrich meat is similar to venison.

“It’s like a red meat but very lean it’s not like a roast chicken, it’s completely different.”

Another farmer has got into saffron, which is stamens harvested from a specific crocus, Dame Jools says.

“His farm was the entire length of a football field - and that was it for the whole farm.”

“You don’t know how many flowers will pop up each day - sometimes you’ll go out on your big football field and there might be three flowers and you’ll go out the next day and there’ll be 3000 flowers.

“With your saffron, you have no idea how much product you’re going to have each day and when you have a three-flower day that’s probably a bit depressing. 

"A 3000-flower day, the whole family has to go out there like maniacs and pull all the little red stamens out – that’s the only bit you use.”